State-run utility Saudi Electricity Company reported net profits of SR1.73bn ($461m) for the third quarter of 2009, a 15 per cent increase on the same period in 2008.

The third quarter of the year is traditionally the most profitable for the utility as electricity consumption spikes in the summer months, due to the demand for air conditioning.

Saudi Electricity’s profits, however, fell short of the SR1.85bn for the quarter forecast by Egyptian investment bank EFG-Hermes.

Saudi Electricity’s net profits for the first nine months of the year stood at SR1.67bn, up 11 per cent on the previous year. It reported a net loss of SR56.8m in the first half of the year.

Saudi Electricity did not report a revenue figure for the third quarter or first nine months of 2009.

The company is the largest utility in the region by market value.